Proposed Trump Budget Would Cut Health Care Well Beyond ACA Repeal

On February 12, 2018 President Trump released his proposed federal budget for the next fiscal year, which would dramatically cut our nation’s health care system, and especially in California.

The budget goes beyond ACA repeal in cutting and capping Medicaid, endorsing last year’s Graham-Cassidy proposal where California was disproportionally and intentionally singled out for harsher and earlier cuts. Such a proposal, even by itself, would cut California’s budget and health system by tens of billions of dollars and would leave over 6.7 million more Californians uninsured. In September of last year, over 100 groups sent a letter to California’s Congressional delegation to urge public opposition to this proposal. None of the fourteen Republican members who voted for an earlier ACA repeal bill (American Health Care Act) have expressed any opposition to this new, harsher, and explicitly anti-California bill. The legislation would phase out, block grant and ultimately repeal all funding for the Affordable Care Act, as well as cut and cap Medicaid—cutting California’s health care by a massive $23 billion a year by 2026, and a staggering $53 billion in 2027 and beyond, according to a California Department of Health Care Services analysis released on Friday, which is in line with other analyses by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Manatt, Avalere, and other independent researchers.

President Trump’s budget depicts a health care armageddon nationally, with the harshest and most devastating impacts on California. All Californians should continue to be alarmed that such a draconian proposal is still proposed as the official goal of our current federal government. We must be vigilant, and all our Representatives must be vocal, in opposing this effort to take health care and key patient protections away from millions of Californians, and other extreme proposals such as cutting and capping Medicaid. No California Congressmember, much less fourteen of them, should stay silent against such a devastating and disproportionate attack on California and our health system, especially one as explicit and intentional as the one in President Trump’s budget. Even the fourteen Representatives that voted for previous ACA repeal bills should realize how much worse this proposal is for the country, for California, and the regions they purportedly represent.

President Trump’s budget of broken promises spotlights severe Medicaid cuts that he said he would never propose, while doing nothing to address prescription drug prices that he said he would bring down. Even if President Trump’s budget is not enacted as written, this draconian proposal is a dangerous place to start negotiations from–as well as a repugnant reflection of our values. It cuts Medicaid, Medicare, and other crucial health and human services–all right after looting the Treasury to pass a tax cut for corporations and the wealthiest.